Although the natural world is a source of great beauty and happiness, vast numbers of animals routinely face serious challenges such as disease, hunger, or natural disasters. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to these threats. However, even as we recognize that improving the welfare of free-ranging wild animals is difficult, we believe that humans have a responsibility to help whenever we can.
We respect wild animals as individuals with their own needs and preferences, rather than seeing them as mere parts of ecosystems. But this approach demands a richer understanding of wild animals’ lives.
We want to take a proactive approach to managing the welfare benefits, threats, and uncertainties that are inherent to complex natural and urban environments. Yet, to take action safely, we must conduct research to understand the impacts of our actions. The transdisciplinary perspective of wild animal welfare draws upon ethics, ecology, and animal welfare science to gather the knowledge we need, facilitating evidence-based improvements to wild animals’ quality of life.
Wild Animal Initiative currently focuses on helping scientists, grantors, and decision-makers investigate important and understudied questions about wild animal welfare. Our work catalyzes research and applied projects that will open the door to a clearer picture of wild animals’ needs and how to enhance their well-being. Ultimately, we envision a world in which people actively choose to help wild animals — and have the knowledge they need to do so responsibly.